The Minimum Wage and Fathers’ Residence with Children

Allison Dwyer Emory, Daniel P. Miller, Lenna Nepomnyaschy, Maureen R. Waller, Alexandra Haralampoudis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The minimum wage is an important determinant of earnings among lower-skilled parents and may have implications for their children’s living arrangements. We used nationally representative data to examine associations between the minimum wage and fathers’ residence with their biological children. Results revealed no association between the minimum wage and father residence among all low-income families. However, this finding masks important heterogeneity within these families based on which parent’s earnings were sensitive to minimum wage levels. In families where only fathers’ earnings were sensitive to minimum wage levels, fathers were more likely to live with their children as minimum wages increased, consistent with research that shows the importance of economic stability for fathers’ residence and custody arrangements. In contrast, in families where only mothers’ earnings were sensitive to minimum wage levels, higher minimum wages were negatively associated with fathers’ residence, consistent with theories of maternal independence. These associations with residence were not observed in situations where both parents’ earnings were sensitive to the minimum wage. Results indicate that these economic policies may be consequential for family processes and well-being in key subsets of low-earning families.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)472-491
Number of pages20
JournalJournal of Family and Economic Issues
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 1 2020

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Social Psychology
  • Economics and Econometrics


  • Father residence
  • Living arrangements
  • Low-income families
  • Maternal independence
  • Minimum wage policy
  • Paternal custody


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